[IMGCAP(1)]Ah! Creative accounting! No! Stop! There is only one way to account for activity and that is the right way.
Account for activity according to the textbooks—that is the only way. Well, I’m here to tell you that creative accounting is a step in the right direction for the accounting industry. Ignore the stigma of the two words combined. The results to come from the creative accountant will transcend the stigma of the past.
Forget that creative accounting is a process to manufacture results. It’s not about altering information. It’s not about lying, stealing or cheating. Creative accounting is about achieving your desired results. Creative accounting is about exposing our practices to gut-wrenching review and analysis to find new ways to solve old (and new) problems. Creative accounting is about finding solutions, opportunities, and questioning our current status—constantly!
As CPAs, it is clear that our clients and businesses marginalize the value that historical information provided in irrelevant timeliness. The preparation of a tax return, the final results of the month-end activity—this information and task completion fail to provide value to a market that seeks immediate information, results and active solutions. Clients want to know where we are today and what steps to take in order to get back on track, now!
In becoming a creative accountant you have the prospect of taking on these new challenges that our clients and staff place on us daily. Your focus will change from “completing tasks” to “driving results.”
Your clients will find you increasingly more valuable, and the changes you initiate will garner more attention. The transformation you create will create new efficiencies, data accessibility and fresh approaches to ageless problems.
To drive yourself and your staff in becoming a creative accountant, below are five steps to consider and apply to your firm as needed:
1. Focus on the goal, not the process: The way you communicate today is very different than it was just five years ago. Processes, systems, efficiencies and expectations change over time. According to Oprah Winfrey, “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work.” If you focus on the goal, fiddle with the processes to meet the needs of your people and work within the expectations of today’s consciousness, you are bound to find positive results.
2. Examine subjects; question results: Do you find your self answering questions all day long? Do you find that you are relied upon by too many people with too many problems? Have you ever asked yourself why? Glenn Close commented, “Acting, to me, is about the incredible adventure of examining the landscape of human heart and soul. That's basically what we do.” Question everything! It is certain that as a profession we can do better. Ask yourself and your staff, “How? Why? What? When? Where?” You are bound to find amazing results.
3. Dream big: Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” What do you want? Has it been 20 years since you have asked yourself this question? Take some time and think about it. These dreams can be reality. Identify them and take one step every day to making this dream transpire.
4. Be obsessive: According to Barbara Streisand, “I’ve been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details for any artist to be good.” Don’t take the easy answer! Don’t accept the obvious! Question, discover, analyze, touch and feel. You are bound to see the issues within your accounting firm and throughout your clientele in a new light. This examination will only heighten the level of value provided to your clients and staff.
5. Fail constantly, recognize success: Ed Catmull of Pixar Inc. stated, “If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it.” Don’t be afraid. We are human. We make errors. But we also can create greatness. You will never know greatness unless you make a mistake.
Creative accountants will empower the accounting industry to challenge our clients and the business community to deliver greater service, increased quality and improved lifestyles. The solutions derived from the creative accountant will transcend the issues we find today and permit us to deal with the problems of the future. The world is full of problems. Let us be creative accountants who will make the world a better place for our children.
Adam Blitz, CPA, is a tax and consulting manager at Wiebe Hinton Hambalek, LLP in Fresno, Calif. Along with his CPA, Adam has a Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University. Adam authored a thesis entitled, "The Leading CPA—the value of the leading CPA." Adam is focused on working with his clients, colleagues, and industry professionals in enhancing the value of the CPA. For additional information, he can be contacted at Adamb@whhcpas.com or via Twitter @getblitzed.
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